Entertaining your kids every minute of the day is exhausting.
It can be time consuming for you ( there are still errands to run, bills to pay and the clothes won’t wash themselves!) and it robs kids of the opportunity to learn how to entertain themselves ( an important skill!) Children need to learn to amuse themselves and to find interesting and fun things to do in a safe environment.
School holidays can often become very costly too. The go-to obvious entertainment choices are often expensive – e.g – The movies, a theme park, bowling, laser tag, play centres…. the list goes on!
Whilst those places are definitely fun and I still love to take Jude to them on the occasion, its not really sustainable to be going every day, or every week for that matter.
So I have been lucky enough to chat to Anastasia from KidSpace Gold Coast, to talk about everything you need to entertain the kids these school holidays!
Anastasia is a mum of three – two boys, almost 2 and 4, and a 14 year old girl.
She is also a primary school teacher and teaches year two locally – I suppose you could say her whole life revolves around children!
‘You think children get easier as they get older but some days my teenager needs more attention than my boys!’ Anastasia.
Nat – Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us Anastasia! I am so excited to use your guide myself! Can you please share a bit about how KidSpace came about?
Anastasia – No worries! I am more than happy to share!
KidSpace Gold Coast mainly came about because my 3yo was a REALLY active toddler. We needed to be out of the house by 8.30am or we were both going to have a bad day, and so having something to do every day became my goal. I used to get anxious about having no plan, so I would trawl local websites to find information, wishing it was all in one place. I bit the bullet and I started my website, adding new adventures when my son was asleep. When my youngest came along I had two under two and was faced with a whole new round of challenges. I started looking for fenced playgrounds so I could sit with bub and not worry my toddler was going to make a run for it. That’s when I realised that it was the small details such as fences and toilets that mattered. And coffee!
Nat – Yes fencing in parks can be very important and a deal breaker for some mums! I love that you share all this on your website! What else can we find on there?
Anastasia – Now that my family has grown, my focus has turned to free activities – playgrounds, playgroups, shopping centre activities. I just don’t have $50 to drop on a paid activity for both of my boys (and sometimes their older sister). Most kids are pretty happy with a set of swings, a good stick or a splashy puddle anyway!
Nat – I just absolutely love that you focus on the free activities! Not because I am a tight ass or anything, but because I have to try to stick to a budget! And I am super impressed at the cool things you can actually do on the coast for free!!
What would your number one tip be, for parents to stay sane these school holidays?
Anastasia – My number one tip is have a plan! I find one active morning activity out of the house and one afternoon activity at home always works for us. Our morning activity is normally a playground or play date with a friend. Our afternoon activity is normally a walk to a local park, craft or backyard activity. Know where you’re going and find out as much information before you go – where to park, nearest food and drinks, toilets, do you need a change of clothes? Take the stress out of your morning by knowing these details before you go.
Plan to be home for naps and lunches – that way you can throw on a load of washing or chill out while they sleep. It’s really important to have a good routine that gives you an hour of time to do whatever you want.
You can find the KidSpace latest guide to free holiday activities here: https://kidspacegoldcoast.com.au/free-school-holiday-fun/
Other handy hints to remember –
- Be sure to search for coupon codes on shop a dockets, Facebook, Instagram etc because lots of the paid activities have special offers over the holidays too so you can save on those activities too!
- Try to look ahead at your calendar so you can sprinkle paid and free activities
- Organise play dates with family and friends so you can relax a bit more while the kids play together.
At home activity ideas
- Play dough.
- Cooking – I make pikelets often because its super cheap and I always have the ingredients. I also don’t mind if kids drops egg shells into that mix because we can always make another batch ( and Jude really loves to crack the eggs)
- Water play – various buckets and containers set up on the veranda or in the shade in the backyard. Add plastic toys and even sand!!
- Treasure hunts
- Craft activities – painting, glueing etc.
- Colouring in
- Frozen play – put small toys in ice and you have to chip them out or spray with water.
- Nature play – collecting leaves and sticks and rocks in the back yard. Then we paint with them. So much fun!
- Backyard picnics – makes lunch time fun!
And remember to breathe, relax and try to enjoy the holidays too!
You WILL survive the silly season!